Richmond native’s experience spans more than a decade in community economic development
Richmond native Jeffrey Sadler is the new coordinator for housing and revitalization for the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
Sadler recently served as the associate director of the Community Revitalization Office at the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). He’s currently the principal and lead consultant for Complete Community Economies LLC, specializing in comprehensive revitalization plans for transitioning localities, including housing options, business development efforts, tax base renewal and strengthening.
Sadler feels he can make a real difference in Martinsville and Henry County. His goals for the community are “simply to help make the MHC region a place that people want to be. The jobs are here. Let’s make the area a vibrant and accessible place to be with updated housing options across the life-cycle and income spectrum; affordable, quality childcare; healthy activities; and great ambiance.”
“The cooperation between the city and county, and the enthusiasm for real revitalization are evident – the region is ready,” he added. “My skills and experience helping other communities focus and prioritize should help the area build on past successes and create more investment. Creating a sense of place, while at the same time meeting the basic housing needs of a community can be hard. However, having worked in communities — such as St. Paul, Damascus, Harrisonburg and others — has taught me that the key is the plan and the vision.”
Martinsville City Manager Leon Towarnicki said bringing on board a coordinator for housing and revitalization is essential to making progress in the community.
“Having a point of contact, someone with access to all of the relevant information, and resources available to the community, greatly streamlines the process and demonstrates the serious effort being applied to moving housing and revitalization-related projects forward in our community,” Towarnicki said.
“This community has done and continues to do a good job of providing job opportunities for our residents,” added Henry County Administrator Tim Hall. “The logical next step is enhanced residential space because the workers need a place to live. Buying or renting a home really is the fabric of a great community, and we are excited that someone with Jeff Sadler’s experience and talent will help us move forward.”
Sadler’s office will be housed at the Martinsville-Henry County EDC at The Baldwin Building, 191 Fayette Street in Martinsville.
“We are excited to have Jeff come on board at this important stage in our overall development efforts,” said Mark Heath, president and CEO of the Martinsville-Henry County EDC. “Martinsville-Henry County’s success in increasing the tax base and recruiting new jobs has led to the realization that we need updated apartment and housing stock across multiple income levels. Jeff’s expertise will greatly enhance the EDC’s Talent Development efforts.”
A housing summit was held on July 31 at The Baldwin Building as a kick-off for the housing initiative in Martinsville and Henry County. Nearly 125 people were in attendance including officials from the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA), Virginia DHCD, local realtors, bankers, developers and private investors.
Funding for the position will be supported by The Harvest Foundation, which has worked since December 2018 to convene stakeholders and other officials in a community conversation about housing.
“This is the next logical step in supporting the infrastructure for successful business growth and development, as well as educating all of our residents on the resources available for them to have updated housing,” said Allyson Rothrock, president of The Harvest Foundation. “Intentional community development with our partners, the City of Martinsville, Henry County, and the Martinsville-Henry County EDC, surely will take us to the next step in economic growth.”
Sadler has been a recognized leader in Virginia’s local revitalization and community economic development for more than a dozen years. As a certified economic developer, he has mastered the use of targeted incentives, stakeholder organization, and local planning to achieve sustainable growth in a broad range of community sizes and wealth profiles — all with a focus on improving the quality of life for current residents and investors.
In the past 18 months, he led efforts to determine Virginia’s placement of Opportunity Zones and designed the new Port Host Communities Revitalization Fund. With his recent founding of Complete Community Economies, LLC, Sadler recognizes the impact that each facet of a community’s well-being has on the others, and is working to make sure that the entire local market is approached with a common plan and in concert with regional initiatives.